Olympic National Park fires held in check

Fire managers said Friday that fire activity remained minimal, confirming the observations of two fire managers who flew over all four wilderness fires within the park to survey conditions Thursday.

OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK — Wildfires in Olympic National Park are smoldering and creeping along the forest floor while emitting few flames, fire managers said after a reconnaissance flight.

Fire managers said Friday that fire activity remained minimal, confirming the observations of two fire managers who flew over all four wilderness fires within the park to survey conditions Thursday.

None of the four fires has grown since cooler days set in last weekend, said Lisa Wilkolak, information officer.

The Cox Valley Fire, 12 miles south of Port Angeles near PJ Lake north of Obstruction Point Ridge, remained at 10 acres.

The Hayes Fire, which is 20 miles south of Port Angeles on a ridge line between the Lost River and Hayes River, remained at 150 acres.

The Godkin Fire, which is 25 miles south of Port Angeles along the Elwha River, has stayed at 90 acres, and the Ignar Creek Fire, which is about 22 miles northeast of Lake Quinault, was still at a half-acre.

All trails in Olympic National Park are open. With the current locations and conditions of the fires, and the weather forecast, no changes or closures are anticipated in the next week.

Fire analysts identified key conditions that could change fire behavior over the rest of the summer, Wilkolak said.

• Increased fire activity can be expected on days when the temperature in the fire areas rises above 75 degrees and the relative humidity drops below 40 percent.

On those days, there will be more smoke visible, and the fires could grow from their current footprint.

The current National Weather Service forecast for the Olympics through Aug. 14 predicts temperatures will remain below 75 degrees.

• Days with more than half an inch of precipitation will slow or stop fire spread for one to three days. More than an inch of rain in one day would stop the fires for three to five days.

Showers were forecast for this weekend.

“Even with cooler weather expected, the four fires still have the potential to smolder and creep along the forest floor,” Wilkolak said.

“Smoke may not be visible in the park or from surrounding communities; however, this is not an indicator that the fires are no longer burning. The fires can remain active for long periods of time even during cool, wet weather conditions.”

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